Our first reaction as hoopers of any level might be that dropping the hoop is bad. It typically isn’t what we were planning. We might be concerned about what whoever is watching us will think. It can sometimes make a great big noise too, but I’d like to put forward some ideas why dropping the hoop may be one of the best things you can do, no matter what your hooping level.
Beginner Hoopers: As a beginner hooper, there are two very good reasons why you should drop your hoop. First, if you’re trying to keep that hoop spinning around your waist and it just won’t stay up, it could be that your muscles are still learning what they need to do. Although its easy to feel you aren’t getting anywhere, try this: Place your hoop around your waist, holding it with both hands. Give it a firm push in your preferred direction – BUT DON’T MOVE YOUR BODY AT ALL. How long did it take to fall to the ground? Pretty quickly, I would say. Now hold your hoop around your waist again, only this time spread your legs a little and pulse your hips back and forth, or side to side, to keep it up. Now unless that was your first time ever trying to hoop, I bet you kept it going for at least a few turns, and probably many more. Your body is delaying the fall – so you are hooping!
If you really are struggling, however, maybe your hoop is too small. If you’ve picked up a cheap kids hoop from somewhere it is most likely way too small and light. Buy an adult size dance hoop (click on the links to one of our sponsors). In this case, even if you’re not able to hoop just yet, dropping the hoop is helping you find a better hoop.
There are many of us out there too who have picked up hooping with the idea that it’s great for exercise. Do you even realize how great it is for your body to bend over and pick that hoop up again and again?
Intermediate Hoopers: This is where most of us probably are at with hooping. There are lots of reasons why dropping your hoop at this level is good for you too. I have heard quite a lot of hoop teachers say this again and again (in these words or similar): “If you are not dropping your hoop, you are not trying anything new.” Ann Humphreys of Line and Circle is reported as having said, “The sound of your hoop dropping is the sound of courage.” Very few people “get” a new hoop move first go. I certainly don’t, but it is learning new moves that spices up our hooping practice – and there are so many great moves to learn!
It comes back to muscle memory too. You are asking your body to move in a way it may never have moved before. It will take time and practice to nail that new hoop move, and I believe you will think it was all worthwhile once you can wow yourself or your friends with it! Clair Ching says dropping the hoop means we are growing, and I do agree. Failure is part of success, you can’t have genuine growth unless you get knocked down and find the courage to get back up.Emma Kenna from Hooping Mad even does a whole workshop on fancy fails and looking like a rock star when you drop your hoop. Practicing ways to pick up your hoop from the floor gives you new moves too. Fancy kickups look great, and you can even incorporate some dancing without your hoop as you maneuver yourself into position next to your flyaway hoop ready to pick it up and continue.
But do you know when hoop drop happens for me the most? When I am trying to video myself. I can do the whole routine without a single problem a dozen times, but as soon as I turn that camera on… Thank goodness I can cut those bits out afterwards with video-editing tools and apps.
Advanced Hoopers: You have practiced and practiced your hoop routine ready for that big performance. Everyone looks up to you as a hoop star and are waiting breathlessly for you to dazzle them. The pressure is on! Often this kind of performance is choreographed and timed to perfection. Half-way through your routine, it happens. You drop your hoop! This is where your expertise kicks in. How you do handle the drop? I have seen lots of performers simply stop, smile or laugh and walk over to their hoop and pick it up and keep going. It can and will and does happen to all of us. A live performance means you can’t stop and rewind or edit out that goof. Other hoopers I have seen simply incorporate that dropped hoop into the routine, sometimes so smoothly you aren’t even sure it was an accidental drop.
I personally love to see a professional hooper drop their hoop- it reminds me that no-one is perfect, and I love to see how they recover their hoop- its so instructive! If you are performing for non-hoopers they may never realize anything happened anyway, and if you are performing for hoopers we ALL know dropping the hoop happens, so we will applaud you anyway for your fabulousness!
Finally, my last thought about dropping my own hoop is that sometimes it is about letting go. It’s about me stopping the self-judgement and self-doubt and revelling in my human imperfection. Its about remembering why I love to hoop – because its so much damn fun!
Contributor Ingrid White was half-way through life when she was smacked in the heart by a large round plastic circle in 2011. Now she views the world through her hoop and her life goals are to still be hooping at 100 years of age and to infect as many people with the hoop bug as possible. Ingrid hoops for an hour daily & regularly joins other Australian hoopers to celebrate all things hoopy. She lives in Appin, New South Wales, Australia. She’s on FaceBook.